Immolation - Majesty and Decay (Nuclear Blast/Riot)

Not for casual listening!

If ‘decay’ describes the subject matter of Majesty and Decay, the eighth full-length studio album and Nuclear Blast debut from New York’s Immolation, then ‘majesty’ describes their sound: immense, sweeping, thundering and ground shaking. It's death metal to bring the mighty to their knees.

A grandiose reputation preceding them, Immolation deliver yet another solid album. They do this, firstly with vast, unhurried guitar sounds – even the fast songs sound somehow unhurried.  Then add pounding drums, and finally gutturals that sound like they’re coming out of the very earth itself. At the core of the album are riffs, and these riffs have hooks and groove - guitar melodies that stay with the listener long after the song echoes away.

From the ethereal Intro until The Comfort of Cowards fades into the nothing, the album’s production is clear, each instrument audible and balanced. Yet the sound still has that delicious layer of grit that marks real death metal. There’s also atmosphere a-plenty – not only is there an intro, but also a thunder-laced Interlude, as though the band thought a serious fan might need a toilet break during an intense listening session.

If there was one criticism that could be raised about this album, it’s that it builds and builds but never really peaks – there’s no standout track, no high point, no release. But if that’s all I can think of to put against it, it’s obviously one awe-inspiring album.

Immolations Majesty and Decay is out now on Nuclear Blast/Riot